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Monday, January 25, 2010

Could Apple's iTablet bring me back to monthly comics?

There is much anticipation of Apple's big announcement this Wednesday, with pretty much everyone expecting them to reveal some kind of slate or tablet style computer. As someone who gave up on reading monthly 'floppy' comics in 2006 because of ever-increasing prices, the notion of a digital comics reader is somewhat intriguing.

I'm sure the comics industry will have some sort of app/reader for comics available for the device when it finally ships (if they are smart).

One key here for me is pricing.  If the price of the iSlate/iTablet/iDunno is reasonable out of the gate, or falls to a reasonable price in the next few years I'll consider getting one.  I'll probably be in the market for a laptop in a few years anyway, and all the apps that will be available will just mean added value. If Marvel/DC (or any other publisher) wants to recapture lost readers (and entice newer ones) they will have to price their digital comics reasonably.  They will have an opportunity here to win big, or shoot themselves in the foot.

The print version of Fantastic Four #575 will be in stores on the same day as Apple's announcement and is cover priced at $2.99, which is now pretty typical, with some titles hitting the $3.99 mark.  I stopped when most titles hit $2.25-$2.50 an issue.  I was reading anywhere from 10-15 titles a month at that point and spending about $35 a month on my comics habit.  My choice was to cut back on titles, which I did for a while, or spend more money, which I couldn't afford to do.  Ultimately I decided to pick up the odd trade paperback, OGN, or collection, and get a complete story for my comics dollar.  This of course took me out of the shops regularly and my comics consumption has dropped accordingly due to the price of the books.

If an iTunes style, digital comics service could deliver a title for $.99 per issue (or less), I'd seriously consider reading them monthly again.  At that price, I could afford 10 regular titles a month and the ability to sample newer releases or limited series without breaking the bank.  Additionally if I find a series or story arc worth hanging on to, then I can always purchase a collected print version when it becomes available.

Another obvious key factor will be how these comics read on the device, and if the portability can help with the loss of that tactile experience of the printed page.


Doc Palindrome said...

No matter what Apple (a company for whom I worked until a month ago) announces, you can read about some of the coolest comic characters ever from myself. I don't know how you feel about Fan Fiction, personally, I find it... irksome. However, as a writer who has been trying to break into comics for 15 years, I also find it as a great outlet.

In a story I'm working on, now, a continuation of the adventures of the New Wanderers (Archie Legion), I bring back my all-time favorite Legionnaire; who, as I have discovered through research, may also be yours.

The first story can be found here. Check it out, if you want. Oh, and I don't expect this comment to remain, but in case it does: hey, everybody!

Anonymous said...

How can the prophesy of "Fahrenheit 451" come to fruition when there is nothing left to burn?

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